The Giants’ offense didn’t blow off the doors against the San Diego Padres on Sunday at AT&T Park, but the way their starters are throwing, scoring enough is just fine.
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A sacrifice fly from Melky Cabrera and a solo home run from Pablo Sandoval in the first inning gave starter Madison Bumgarner all he needed in a 4-1 Giants win.
Bumgarner (4-1) pitched 7²⁄³ innings, allowed six hits, struck out a season-high six Padres, walked one and allowed one earned run on 117 pitches.
The 22-year-old retired nine of the final 10 hitters he faced and has now won his last four starts, quite a different beginning than last season, when he started the year 0-6.
“I’m just trying to go out there and make pitches and nothing else,” Bumgarner said. “If you make good pitches every time, you’re going to limit the chance of them stringing together a lot of hits. Sometimes it still happens and they hit good pitches, but that’s all I’m trying to do — throw the ball where it’s supposed to go.”
Even the run he allowed came with some context.
With two outs in the fifth inning and a runner on first base, San Diego left fielder Chris Denorfia hit a deep but seemingly catchable ball to center field. The Giants’ Angel Pagan broke in on the ball at first, then quickly began to run back, but the ball sailed just over his outstretched glove and onto the warning track.
“It didn’t look like he hit it that well, but it just kept going and I gave my best effort,” Pagan said.
The Giants’ recent struggles with clutch hitting didn’t improve overall (they were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position), but they got a lift from shortstop Joaquin Arias, who was making just his third start of the season.
Arias gave the Giants some much-needed breathing room with a two-run triple in the sixth on a deep drive that one-hopped the wall in right field, scoring Buster Posey and Brett Pill.
Prior to Arias’ hit, however, the Giants failed to bring in or even advance leadoff doubles by Posey and Ryan Theriot in the fourth and fifth innings.
“[Arias’ hit was] huge,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Up to that point, I’m not going to lie, that game was frustrating. We need to do a better job with our execution. We’re getting guys on second with nobody out and we’re not moving them or getting them in. In tight ballgames, these things can catch up to you.”
Posey went 1-for-3 with a double in the fourth inning and Pill was the only San Francisco player to collect more than two hits.
Just a day after Sandoval’s 20-game hitting streak was snapped, Pagan extended his own hitting streak to 14 games, which is now the longest in the National League.
Sandoval didn’t take long to start another hitting streak either, sending an 0-1 fastball from San Diego starter Clayton Richard (1-3) four rows into the left-field stands in the first inning.
“Yesterday is yesterday and today is today,” Sandoval said. “I just come in here happy, try to win the game and win the series.”